Man sought by Harford is arrested in Vermont

September 01, 2007|By Madison Park

A man accused of duping elderly Harford County residents in a pyramid scheme was arrested in Vermont this week, according to the county state's attorney's office.

Michael Phillip Luby, 48, is accused of bilking 21 Harford residents - the eldest of whom was 91 - from 2005 to last year.

Victims told investigators that Luby, whose last known address was in Hebron in Wicomico County, had taken money to purchase a property in Virginia. More than $2 million was accumulated in the operation, said State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly.

Investigators accused Luby of running a Ponzi scheme, in which money from new investors is used to pay off earlier investors. After being indicted by a Harford grand jury on 54 counts including theft, forgery, embezzlement in March, Luby fled the area, according to investigators.

Police in Dover, Vt., were tipped off last week by Harford investigators that Luby was trying to buy a inn there, said Sgt. Randy Johnson of the Dover Police Department. Luby was arrested Wednesday.

Criminals target the elderly for their savings, IRA and pensions, Cassilly said.

"It's thought by criminals that the victims won't be around long enough to prosecute. If they stall the case long enough, [the victims] may die," said Cassilly. "Criminals go after the elderly, hoping they won't be prosecuted because they won't have a good witness."

Cassilly recommended that relatives should help elderly family members make financial decisions.

Luby waived extradition and will return to Harford County on Tuesday, where he will be held on $3 million bond at the county detention center.

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